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NFL's replay woes should give MLB pause

Major League Baseball should be watching what's going on in the National Football League Playoffs carefully.

So far, this NFL post season is more renowned for the controversial decisions of officials than it is for the players or the competition.

Instant replay has a place in sports. A small place, shedding light on a handful of scenarios in which it can give definitive information. An example in football is forward progress. In baseball, it's whether a ball was fair or foul.

But it is not a cure-all. The call at the end of the Cowboys/Packers playoff game is a great example. In real time, I can't recall hearing a single person say they didn't think Dez Bryant's grab near the goal line was a good catch. But when you slow it down, you lose perspective on his movement. Did he make a "football move?" How long did he possess the ball? It becomes gray. In baseball, the controversy is at first base. It seems like instant replay would be a great tool to determine, decisively, if the ball beat the runner to the bag.

But in slow motion it actually seems more difficult to tell.

Why? Because in super slow mo you can't tell when the ball actually hits the first baseman's mitt. You see it disappear into the glove. But you can't tell when the fielder actually gains possession and control of the ball. 

Replay might have fixed Don Denkinger's blown call in the 1985 World Series. But that was an obvious mistake. That problem doesn't necessitate replay as much as it does an improvement in umpiring.

Maybe instead of the manager coming out to argue about every close play, MLB needs a quality control officer who can correct obvious mistakes from behind the scenes. And, if there are mistakes, umpires need to be held responsible. But don't let replay slow and muddy the games.

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